The majority of today’s successful Managed Service Providers in the SMB space not only offer their clients IT Support and Consultancy, but also a raft of solutions meant to support their clients businesses on a day to day basis.
These solutions can be purchased from a number of different IT providers in just about every field of the industry.
A typical MSP’s “solution stack” might include:-
Offering such products helps to demonstrate value to your clients, and increase recurring revenue for you – but the question often arises, if every MSP is offering these services, then how can I differentiate myself from all the rest?
Firstly – the reality is that every MSP isn’t offering these services.
You’d be surprised at the large number of MSP’s who leave their clients to source their own Broadband and Anti-Virus, and in doing so miss out on the opportunity to lower their support costs and increase their own recurring revenue by offering these services themselves.
By offering all these solutions under one roof, you’re already demonstrating to your client that you’ve thought about what’s important to their business and have tried and tested solutions that can help them.
Visit any IT companies web-site and you’ll find a raft of IT vendor badges: Microsoft, GFI, Symantec, Sophos – and many more. IT companies love badges.
But here’s a secret – clients couldn’t care less about them.
For the most part, clients aren’t bothered about whether they are using Symantec, AVG or Sophos Anti-Virus within their business. They just want to know their computers are protected, and they’ll trust you as the MSP to provide them with the right tools to do that.
So there’s an opportunity here for your MSP to brand your services, and instead of talking about Vendor promoted features that help a clients eyes to glaze over – you can talk to your client about the business benefits of your solution.
My own MSP offered services in this way. We branded all of our services. Netlink Defender was our E-Mail Filtering product. Netlink Connect was our Managed Broadband. Netlink Safe was our Off-Site Backup, and Netlink Safe BDR was our Disaster Recovery solution.
There are numerous values to branding solutions in this way. As well as promoting your own brand to your clients, and therefore increasing your stickiness with that client, you’re wrapping what was a commodity service with your own value proposition. Clients don’t simply buy an E-Mail Security tool from you, they buy your own researched and unique package of e-mail security.
If you like to work with “Best of Breed” products and regularly re-evaluate your MSP tools to find a better product when it comes along – instead of having to explain to your client why you’re moving them from Symantec to GFI, you instead swap the service out behind the scenes. You’ve “upgraded" the service back-end, but the client continues to buy your branded solution.
The next time your client receives a flyer through the post with a special offer on such-and-such Anti-Virus product, they’ll be less inclined to do a like-for-like cost comparison because your service isn’t a commodity to be bought at the cheapest price – it’s a solution they’ve invested into.
Many IT Vendors offer MSP’s the opportunity to package up and re-sell their services in this way – such White Labelling as it is known, is commonplace.
If your Vendor doesn’t offer you the opportunity to White Label their products and services as your own – seek out an IT Vendor who does.
There is an argument that some clients know and trust brands such as Microsoft. I’d say to this – don’t hide the fact that your branded solution is “supported” by a large vendor, and if asked – share this knowledge, but don’t lead with the Vendors brand message – lead with your own.
Clients increasingly want to work with a Trusted Business Advisor, not a box shifter.
By building your own branded portfolio of services you’re reinforcing the idea that you’re MSP is a one-stop-shop for advice and solutions.
As the former owner of an award winning IT Managed Service Provider, Richard Tubb works with MSP’s to help them increase sales, take on employees and build up relationships with key industry contacts. You don't have to do it alone any more - contact Richard and have a chat about your needs and how he can help you.